Guy Ritchie exploded onto the pop culture scene possessing the same kinetic energy that surrounded his first feature “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels” was released in 1998. He was 30, and aside from making the short film “The Hard Case” in 1995, he was also directing music videos and commercials. In his “Lock, Stock” review, Roger Ebert called it “Tarantino mixed with the Marx Brothers.” And so from the outset, Ritchie was being compared to the American director who had just released “Pulp Fiction” four years before. With the Hollywood-backed “Snatch,” Guy’s second directorial effort proved he had what it takes, experimenting with jumbled storylines, mobile camera moves, and a host of interesting East End characters who spoke unintelligibly and were quick to use violence. At the time of the 2000 release of “Snatch,” Guy Ritchie was one of the most unique voices in film, leading critics and a growing audience to praise him for his two features while looking forward to future ones.
While “Snatch” earned accolades in the UK, Guy’s personal life became the subject of international attention and frenzy when he married his girlfriend Madonna, ten years his senior, in December 2000. Madonna bore him a son, Rocco, earlier that year in August. and Ritchie became stepfather to Madonna’s 4-year-old daughter Lourdes. Six years later, the couple would become embattled in an adoption controversy – revolving around Malawian tot David – with everybody up to and including Oprah weighing in on the issue. Madonna’s influence on Guy’s work is unquestionable: he used Madonna’s song “Lucky Star” on the “Snatch” soundtrack, directed her in the “What It Feels Like for a Girl” music video, directed her in the BMW short “Star,” and directed her in “Swept Away” in 2002. For that movie’s review, Ebert awarded it one star. Despite the film sweeping the Razzie’s, the flop mystified Ritchie. “I’ve got to say I still think it’s a good film,” he said. “I’m left shaking my head.”
At around this time, Guy (and Madonna) became a major devotee to the Kabbalah Centre, headquartered in L.A., which teaches the principles of Jewish mysticism. Guy’s followup to “Swept Away” was a return to the gangster genre in which he made his initial splash. Called “Revolver,” the script was peppered with Kabbalah references – so much and so heavily that Sony freaked out and refused to finance and distribute. Guy went ahead anyway in 2004 and shot the picture with regular Jason Statham and Ray Liotta. The initial premiere was at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2005, and limited release in the United States is planned for December 2007. After completing the film, Ritchie directed a TV series in Britain called “Suspect,” with Carrie-Anne Moss in the lead. With “RocknRolla,” Guy’s 2008 picture – and another return to the gangster stories he loves so much – one hopes he finally has found his mature groove, which first showed promise with his first two efforts. He has experienced much since he skyrocketed onto the scene in 1998, and perhaps those ten years will shape how he approaches cinema today. Perhaps the kinetic energy he possesses as a visualist and storyteller will finally come together into something truly original and inspired. Guy Ritchie has that capability.
Guy on the Web
Guy’s database of movies.
In depth biography of Guy’s life and photos from productions and red carpets.
Brief bio tracing Guy’s professional career and personal life.
Future Movies Interview
A discussion with Guy on his “Revolver” film.
Guy interviewed at the time of the release of “Snatch.”
Guy on the Screen
Guy’s 20-minute short film “The Hard Case” paved the way for his first feature “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels” in 1998. Guy also served as casting director as well, and the film bodes star-turning performances by Jason Statham and Vinnie Jones. The next film, “Snatch,” combined his previous effort with Hollywood clout. Jason Statham and Vinnie Jones were back on board, along with Brad Pitt, Dennis Farina and Benicio del Toro. The movie, budgeted at ten million, grossed 30 million. After directing new wife Madonna in a music video and short film for the BMW series, the two collaborated on the remake “Swept Away” with a ten million dollar budget and locations in Malta and Italy. It took a month to shoot, but garnering a release date was tough. When it was finally released in the U.S. in 2002, it earned just over $500, 000. It would be three years before Ritchie made “Revolver,” the con movie shot on the Isle of Man, once again starring Statham, Ray Liotta, Andre Benjamin and Vincent Pastore. It finally arrives in the United States in the closing weeks of 2007.
Hopefully Guy’s new gangster movie “RocknRolla” has the director back on track. When not embattled in adoption issues, or maintaining his six homes and raising his children, Guy has put together an impressive cast: Jeremy Piven, Thandie Newton, Tom Wilkinson and Gerard Butler. Warner Bros. is set to distribute the film. No release date has been set.
“I like death. I'm a big fan of it.”
On “Swept Away”:
“I'm scratching my head about what went wrong.”
On his relationship with Madonna:
“We're quite volatile as individuals, but that doesn't work exponentially when we are together.”